February 23, 2005 9:00 AM PST

Apple pipes in new iPods

Apple Computer shuffled in new iPod Mini and iPod Photo music players on Wednesday and dropped prices on some models.

The company introduced a higher-capacity, 6GB Mini, along with new 30GB and 60GB iPod Photo models, which can use an adapter to connect directly to digital cameras and display photos. The Minis also feature a boost in battery life.

The new models expand the range of Apple's popular hard drive-based music players and increase the product line's capabilities in digital photography. A $29 camera adapter for the iPod Photo answers the call for connecting the player directly to cameras without the need for a computer as a go-between.

Along with bringing out the 6GB Mini, which costs $249, Apple lowered the price of its 4GB Mini to $199. The 4GB Mini had debuted in January 2004 at $249.

The 30GB iPod Photo costs $349, while the 60GB device costs $449. Previously, Apple offered a 40GB model for $499 and a 60GB version for $599.

The sharp price cut to the iPod Photo line moves the color screen from a premium feature to something that's practically standard--showing up on all but the lowest-end $299 iPod model. Apple Vice President Greg Joswiak said in an interview that he expects many iPod buyers will pay $50 more to get a device with a 50 percent larger hard drive and color screen.

"I have little doubt this will be a very popular model," said Joswiak, who heads iPod product marketing. "Just like you saw with PDAs and cell phones, everything gets better in color."

Apple has been on a low-price tear recently in an effort to reach more consumers. In January, it introduced the flash-based iPod Shuffle, which starts at $99, along with a Mac Mini desktop PC designed to appeal to bargain hunters.

Apple's iPod line has already achieved totemic status in American pop culture and is the clear market leader among portable music players. Moreover, the music player segment overall is enjoying healthy growth. A recent study revealed that 22 million adults in the United States, or 11 percent of the population, own an iPod or other MP3 player.

Apple is clearly out to build on its success, said one analyst.

"If you combine (the $199 iPod Mini) with the Shuffle, it really says Apple is shooting for the moon here," The NPD Group analyst Steve Baker said. The company is "really going after getting as much of this market as it can."

Still, Baker had some questions about how customers would evaluate the questions of device size versus storage space.

"The pricing all works. It's got nice $50 increments," he said. "I think the question becomes, are you adding enough value at each increment and how are customers going to view that? If you're doing a $249 Mini, is (that 2GB of extra hard-drive space) really worth $50 more, or would a customer trade right past that to $299 to get 20GB?" he asked, referring to a 20GB regular-size iPod.

Joswiak said the changes to the iPod lineup are an attempt by Apple to hit every possible part of the market.

"We have all budgets covered," he said.

Gene Munster, a financial analyst at brokerage firm Piper Jaffray, applauded the lower prices as a good way for Apple to defend its turf.

"We believe that Apple's changes to the product line are more offensive than defensive," he said in a research note Wednesday. "We believe

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17 comments

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massive price cut
wow...$150 price drop on the photo model. they musta been
rakin it in before! (...or dyin tryin...)
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Make a $50 Ipod and I might bite!!
(eom)
Posted by simcity1976 (136 comments )
Link Flag
Disappointed!!
I was holding out for Bluetooth in the iPod. I'm sad to see it's not going to be on the new players. Guess I'll keep holding out.
Posted by drewbyh (91 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How would you use BT?
Just interested to see what exactly are you looking for with a
bluetooth enabled iPod?

Is it to have BT stereo headset and listen to music? Or is it to
stream to your stereo's BT receiver and listen at home?

I am not aware of a BT solution yet. Any links?
Posted by zarathustra911 (35 comments )
Link Flag
just what the doctor didn't order:
thank god it doesn't have bluetooth, and if it my ipod did, i'd disable the bt-radio. that's just what i want: instead of a 12 hour battery life, now i only get an hour and a half.
Posted by mortis9 (370 comments )
Link Flag
customers caught in the middle
OK, now I am ticked. I just bought a 40GB 4 days ago, which is now discontinued. The 60GB photo costs an extra $50. I was just going to take it in and exchange it and pay an extra $50, but I just called the Apple store and they want me to pay a $40 restocking fee on top of that. I haven't even loaded a single fricking song, just opened it 2 days ago, have every piece of plastic that was in the darn box including the plastic shrinkwrap for the entire box, and they want $40.

I was pretty excited about my iPod. I think I will be returning it for a refund and not get the new one if this is the kind of customer service I can expect. Total bs.
Posted by RKR99 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What I see is that what you got was $100 off
on a player that was $499 only a few days (couple of weeks?) ago. Go back in time 2 weeks and you'll end up paying a TOTAL of $10 less for both 20GB more and a direct camera connection. Sounds like a good deal to me.
Posted by Kev_a_Swing_Dancer (6 comments )
Link Flag
Come on
Do just the tiniest bit of research to avoid that sort of situation,
the net was buzzing with the prospect of an addition/change to
the ipod line you should have paid attention then waited till the
time came, when i was upgrading my 3rd gen i listened to the
rumor mill and waited till the release of the photos came, i
decided they werent for me and bought a 20 gig 4g like i had
planned but this way i avoided purchasing something days
before it is replaced by something better. Do some research
before you buy especially if the fact that your device was
replaced is such a big deal to you, it will save you a lot of grief
Posted by (4 comments )
Link Flag
Finally some sense out of Apple
Lets face it, we all saw this coming. But then again, what a pleasant suprise. Up until recently Macs in general have been kicked to the curb by PC based lower pricing. However, with the introduction of the $500 Mac Mini they're starting to catch on. Also bringing the iPod Mini down to 199 was an excellent choice because there were many 5 Gigabyte models for the same price. Last but not least the lowering of the price of the iPod Photo was one of the greatest things Apple could have done for their lineup. A $150 price drop? Finally, Apple's starting to see the prices that everyone else is using (and they're getting competetive).
Posted by j1cumbee (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's just plain business
I don't think that Apple finally saw what others are charging. They know very well what the competition is charging. But any business riding a wave of explosive popularity will charge as much as they can as long as they can sustain it. With every addition of a new and improved version of any wildly popular product (in this case it was the 60GB iPod photo) there will always be a those who will pay a 'very high' price just to have the latest and greatest. Once that wave of buyers dries up, then its time to make downward price adjustments and get to the next wave of buyers who will buy at 'high' prices, followed by subsequent price drops for the next level of buyers, and on and on it goes.

But I must say I was quite excited about the rumors that the mini was getting a color screen. That would have been awesome along with 6GB and 18-hour battery life for $249! I was dissapointed that the rumor was wrong, but I suppose I fall into the category of those willing to buy at 'high' prices because I'm going to throw in my $249 for one. I'm tired of constantly having to reload my 1.5GB Rio Nitrus with new music. At 6GB I'll be able to load enough music for week or two. I'd love to go with 30GB and color screen for an extra $100, but I find the iPods too heavy and bulky for how I use a music player.
Posted by (61 comments )
Link Flag
$500 Mac
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/alfa_romeo_147_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/alfa_romeo_147_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Ubber geek (325 comments )
Link Flag
Still too expensive
For something whose output quality is way below that of CD content (although this is more to do with CD copy protection, and the cheap, crappy default earphones) this product is still way overpriced.

A $100 personal cd player still has far more versatility (compatible with all music download sites, instantly pays any CD - no file transfer necessary) and the sound quality is beyond comparison.

As soon as the price for 2-4GB devices falls under $100, then you'll have something worth buying.

Put it this way, this is supposedly the must have cool gadget for kids. This is fine for parents or kids with large incomes, but for lower income families, there are two issues.

First, obviously, is that kids tend to lose everything - too bad, so sad you might say, but why someone like me would be tempted to buy the thing in the first place, given that they have poor build quality (check out the ipods over 2 years old on ebay, and find out how many still have original batteries that work correctly, or dodgy connections for the earphones ) and are small enough to be lost easily - no thanks.

Now consider that the PSP will have a retail cost of around $250 - can player movies, music, games. They can connect to the internet, with built in wifi, and will almost certainly be updated with productivity software like MS Word for pocket PCs or media on the go applications (Cable TV / satelite radio reception in wifi hotspots), and tell me where the value in an ipod is..
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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